DepositPoetry Translation Masterclass: Theory, Problems, Practice

This course (held during Jan-Feb 2021) offers an introduction to the art of translating poetry from a practitioner’s perspective. It is designed for poetry lovers and translators of all backgrounds—ranging from those who have never translated before but are interested in understanding what it is all about, to those who have been translating for decades and are eager to reflect on their craft in a group setting, to poets seeking to hone their craft by closely reading poetry in translation. No knowledge of a foreign language is required. All poems (by Persian poets Hafez and Bijan Elahi, Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva, and others) will be read in English. Alongside focusing on the craft of poetry translation, students will expand their awareness of world poetry.

DepositRussia in the Global Parliamentary Moment, 1905–1918: Between a Subaltern Empire and an Empire of Subalterns (Locating the Global: Spaces, Networks and Interactions from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century, ed. by Holger Weiss. Berlin: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2020, pp. 257–282)

The chapter analyzed the debates on parliamentarism in the late Russian Empire and revolutionary Russia and explored how the idea of parliament helped intellectuals locate Russia globally. The establishment of the legislative State Duma and the adoption of the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire during the Revolution of 1905–1907 seemed to make Russia a constitutional state. Few intellectuals, however, viewed the Duma as a parliament equal to its Western counterparts. Despite their criticism of the Duma, numerous liberal and moderate socialist and nationalist thinkers generally supported parliamentarism, seeing Russian transformations as part of the perceived parliamentary universalism. Right and left radicals, by contrast, questioned the very necessity of a parliament. The right argued that Russia was self-sufficient and did not need Western democracy; the left rejected parliaments, claiming them a part of class exploitation and oppressive state machinery, and called for direct rule of the toilers to represent an alternative democratic modernity. The Bolshevik–Left Socialist Revolutionary coup in October 1917 and the dissolution of the All-Russian Constituent Assembly in January 1918 marked a halt in Russia’s participation in global parliamentary developments, which institutionally encompassed, inter alia, Persia, the Ottoman Empire, and the Qing Empire (and the Republic of China) in the 1900s/1910s. Conceptually, it marked an end of the global parliamentary moment, as the Bolshevik–Left Socialist Revolutionary regime became the first practical take on non-parliamentary modernity.

DepositParliamentary Formations and Diversities in (Post-)Imperial Eurasia, ed. by Ivan Sablin (Journal of Eurasian Studies, vol. 11, nos. 1 and 2, 2020, Special Issue)

Addressing the entangled histories of deliberative decision making, political representation, and constitutionalism in several geographic and temporal contexts, this Special Issue offers nuanced political and intellectual histories and anthropologies of parliamentarism in Eurasia. It explores parliaments and quasi-parliamentary formations and the designs of such in the Qing and Russian Empires, the late Soviet Union, Ukraine, the Russian Far East, and the Russian-Mongolian borderlands (from Buryat and Mongolian perspectives) in seven contributions. Apart from the regional interconnections, the Special Issue foregrounds the concepts of diversity and empire to enable an interdisciplinary discussion. Understanding empires as composite spaces, where the ambivalent and situational difference is central for the governing repertoires, the articles discuss social (ethnic, religious, regional, etc.) diversity in particular contexts and the ways it affected the parliamentary designs. The multitude of the latter is understood as institutional diversity and is discussed in relation to different levels of administration, as well as the positions of respective parliamentary formations within political systems and their performance within regimes. The contributions also investigate different forms of deliberative decision-making, including the soviet, the Congress of People’s Deputies, and the national congress, which allows to include conceptual diversity of Eurasian parliamentarisms into the discussions in area and global studies. The Special Issue highlights the role of (quasi-)parliaments in dissembling and reassembling imperial formations and the ways in which parliaments were eclipsed by other institutions of power, both political and economic.

DepositA Hamaḏānian Patchwork

Among the numerous Jewish uṣūl al-dīn compositions in the Second Firkovitch Collection at the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg there is one that I have labelled “A Hamaḏānian Patchwork”. You might just as well call it “A Persian Carpet”. It is another magnificent specimen of “diachronic intertextualities”. The treatise, which is partly preserved in ms. St. Petersburg, RNL, Yevr.-Arab. I 4881 and a few smaller fragments, is made up of many customised quotations, first and foremost from works by the chief Qāḍī Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAbd al-Ǧabbār b. Aḥmad al-Hamaḏānī (d. 415/1024), in particular his Muḥīṭ and Muġnī. A full breakdown of the text’s fabric will be presented in a separate publication. Of the two samples given below, the first reproduces a passage which is also quoted in the extensive Šarḥ ʿUyūn al-masāʾil by al-Ḥākim Abū Saʿd al-Muḥassin b. Muḥammad b. Kurrāma al-Bayhaqī al-Barawġanī al-Ǧušamī/Češumī (d. 494/1101), while the second renders two passages taken from the Nubūwāt of the Muġnī. In several instances, these quotations will help to lay bare mistakes in the printed edition.

DepositGutenberg Goes Overboard: How the Russian Futurists Defied Convention in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

This paper examines two approaches I argue most successfully transformed the conventional book and in doing so, challenged Walter Benjamin’s paradigm for art in the “age of mechanical reproduction.” These includes the neo-primitivist approach, in which artists looked to a pre-Gutenberg era for inspiration, and the ferroconcrete approach which looked to redefine the artist’s relationship to typography. To illustrate my argument, I examine the works of two Russian Futurists, Aleksei Kruchenykh who typifies the primitivist approach, and Vasily Kamensky, who invented the ferroconcrete approach.

DepositThe Challenges the Taishō Democracy Faced.pdf

The democratization of Japan has been challenging throughout Japanese history. A society remaining used to the feudal order, Japanese norms and values as a result of the 200-years long sakoku (closed country) policy of the Tokugawa Shogunate and imperial order faced tremendous challenges in its path of democratization. Therefore, the question of why Japan failed to democratize itself but disguised its ambitions in the ideologies such as militarism, expansionism, and imperialism, is of significant value. Such a dichotomy in Japanese history, which lies in the gap between democratization and militarism, has more than one explanation to it, for it is plausible to analyze Japan’s failure by investigating cultural, political, and economic causes altogether. Only then is it conceivable to recognize an inclination in the contemporary global agenda as well, by explaining why particular nations, such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation, are a far cry from other democratic nations of the globe.

DepositTracking the framing of politicians and news events across the multilingual Wikipedia:translation and its unseen impact

Major international news stories often give rise to the very rapid development of a multilingual set of Wikipedia articles that are the site of multiple acts of translation, the presence of which can, however, be difficult to detect. Focusing on contemporary Russian news stories, this project has attempted to investigate this area, aiming to identify the presence of translation through the application of a number of different approaches and to interpret its function in terms of its contribution to knowledge creation and point of view. To date, the investigation has revealed much about the presence and role of translation in the encyclopaedia, while the next stages of the project are designed to extend, enrich and – possibly – challenge the existing analysis with the aid of a number of digital tools that we aim to develop.